7 great examples of alternative tourism in the Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic, English

When it comes to the next vacation planning, the Dominican Republic maybe is part of the shortlist. A small island somewhere in the Caribbean with palm trees and mile-long beaches. Isn’t that the country where also all the All-Inclusive-Resorts in Punta Cana are located? I would like to show 7 examples of alternative tourism in the Dominican Republic to make you aware of all the possibilities of the country. Maybe you’ll find out, why the Ministry of Tourism communicates its country as ‘The Dominican Republic has it all’.

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Approximate reading time: 12 minutes

We all expect the Dominican Republic to be a country with a lot of sunshine, beaches and people with a laid-back mentality. I cannot deny this standard imagination of the Dominican Republic, because this type of All-Inclusive-Tourism is a steady characteristic for their national tourism. In that sense, your imagination of a colorful Caribbean country with music, dance, rum, and tropical birds, and exotic fruits is what the country can offer to every visitor.

The Dominican Republic is a pure paradise for alternative travelers

Spending vacations in a hermetically sealed all-inclusive resort might not be the preference for everyone. I was during all my time only twice for a couple of nights in Punta Cana and had soon enough from ‘tourism off the rack’ and impersonalized servicing.

For me, this type of tourism always seems a bit like a supervised vacation in artificial surroundings with organized feeding times. I am more the adventurous type of traveler and don’t really need to have this oversupply of service. It just makes you feel idle and unproductive. The few movements every day only makes you gain weight and sunburn as a souvenir.

The ‘other Dominican Republic’ far away from the All-Inclusive-Resorts in Punta Cana: Lush and green landscape in Tubagua

But the most populous country in the Caribbean has much more to offer than the typical gringo vacations for honeymooners and senior golfers. For me, that’s always the main reason to get curious. What does a tourism destination have to offer apart from the expectable factors?

And the Dominican Republic has many interesting ways for individual tourists who are curious to explore beyond the mass consumption society. Maybe you’ll be surprised about all the thrilling opportunities for an ambitious traveler that the Dominican Republic can fulfill.

Next page:
1 – Bird watching in the Dominican Republic

Tubagua Eco Lodge – Built as a student retreat, became a shelter for travelers 


I waited for my first own road trip in the Dominican Republic. More than three months. Needed first to get used to my surrounding in Santo Domingo like a cat. But after enough habituation it was time to discover and expand the own territory and look for a place far away from cities, exhausting traffic scenarios and boisterous Dominicans. Something off the usual to relax and get another impression of this beautiful island.

Tubagua Eco Lodge was the destination. Located in the north amongst Puerto Plata, Santiago and Sosua. Mountainous, green, quiet. The way to Tubagua was a pleasure: Less traffic, great natural scenery, but unfortunately on the other hand for 10 – 15 km very dusty and unpaved road conditions. I drove ‘very early’ on Thursday morning at 8am starting from Santo Domingo.

Good and typical Dominican food

I got deflected – Back to the eco lodge itself. You will arrive there and feel instantly a calm and comforting vibe from the staff and the whole amenities. Luckily I arrived at lunch time and got served a typical Dominican lunch.

Rice and beans – Essential component of every Dominican full meal 🥘

But the rest of the food was as well worth to show it:

Especially the dinner had to offer quite some juicy meat:


For the price (and the lack of near alternatives in the form of other restaurants) definitely worth it. Or would you prefer to cook when every other guest of the lodge is crunching their haunches for dinner? Good luck then, I definitely don’t!


Rooms offer a 180° wide-angle view over the whole terrain

Typical eco lodges are designed of natural materials like wood, bamboo, etc. and have therefore a distinct rustic charm and unique character. Here are a few impressions to understand better how Tubagua Eco Lodge was created:

What makes the construction of this lodge special is the wide-angle view it offers to its guests. You will have a stunning view over the whole terrain from the room I had. The only thing that will disturb your relaxation are sunshine and birdsongs.

The shared bathroom area had a quite cool feature:


The sink was made out of old buckets to meet the recycle approach – Good idea! But an even better idea was the toilet:

The frame with its semi-flexible picture is a really quaint idea for everyone who needs to pee.



Amenities of Tubagua Eco Lodge

Be prepared, that you won’t have a TV in your room. Contrary to what hotel rooms are offering, you will not find many interesting things to do in your own room. It’s conceived to find rest in your own room and do all other activities like gaming and other interactions in the social area. This area looks like the following:

But apart from that house, there were as well several other nice and comfortable areas:

Environment around the eco lodge

What you could already see in the photos gave you a little impression about the lush and green nature. Luckily, the lodge is located in an area where you can walk some trails quite safely without a tour guide. Don’t forget to bring your tramping boots, or you need to revert after the half way, because you wear flip-flops and it becomes difficult to walk the unpaved roads.

Some neighbors have their own domestic animals:

All in all it helped me to charge my batteries and to spend a few days remote from Santo Domingo. Happy Easter!